Passengers of the Costa Concordia cruise ship got more than they bargained for during their tour of Italy. While cruising along the coast of Isola del Giglio this past Friday, the ship struck a rock that tore a 150 foot gash in its side. Then, like something out of The Poseidon Adventure, the ship began to list dangerously to one side.
Investigators are still trying to determine exactly what happened aboard the ship that would have caused it to run aground. The route is actually one that the cruise line has done weekly, without incident. CBS news quotes Gianni Onorato from the Costa Crociera SpA company, which own the ship, as saying:
“The ship was doing what it does 52 times a year, going along the route between Civitavecchia and Savona,”
Currently, 11-year veteran captain Francesco Schettino and his first mate are being detained by police on suspicion of manslaughter and for abandoning ship so early. After the collision, Schettino managed to steer the ship into shallower waters in order to expedite rescue efforts. However, why the ship ran aground, and why no mayday signal was transmitted until after the evacuation was underway remain unknown.
One theory is that the Costa Concordia might have temporarily lost power, preventing the crew from steering the ship. While that would take suspicion off Schettino, the crew is still facing criticism over how it handled the disaster. For instance, lifeboat evacuation was delayed for so long that the listing of the ship made many of the boats unusable.
Of the 4,232 people on board, some 40 are still unaccounted for and three have been confirmed dead.